From hedonism to nostalgia, the rebirth of travel in 2022 will be shaped by the changing attitudes and demands of wealthy global consumers. Jenny Southan reports
Speaking at this year’s TTG Luxury Travel Summit, Globetrender editor and founder Jenny Southan identified a series of conscious and sub-conscious drivers that will be influencing the decisions of luxury travellers in 2022.
Hedonism and Liberty
Although many high net worth members of society have managed to continue living the high life during the pandemic, 2022 will be the year they really get back into gear.
We are now at the point when booster vaccines are being given out so there is a lot of protection available from the virus, which means parties are making a come-back big time. We can expect many luxury travellers to want to truly flex their muscles when it comes to exhibiting how free they are, and letting people know about it when they go back into the world again.
Feasting, entertainment and frivolities of all kinds will define the years ahead – 2022 will almost certainly mark the start of the next roaring twenties. Opulence and maximalism will be back in vogue.
Legacy and Nostalgia
After a long time away from visiting our favourite destinations, and an on-going moral hangover due to the state of the world, many luxury seekers will be craving the good old days when life seemed safer and more innocent.
They will return to destinations they have loved in the past and seek out places that offer charm, comfort and a sense of the Golden Era. Examples of this include journeys aboard Belmond sleeper trains and stays at historic marvels such as the forthcoming Admiralty Arch Waldorf Astoria hotel in London.
The marking of milestone occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays will be particularly important, as will spending time with the next generation.
Simplicity and Seclusion
As with all trends, there are counter trends. For every luxury traveller who yearns to quaff champagne at resorts in Dubai, there are others who want to disengage from the trappings of wealth. Even people who have been fortunate enough to spend lockdown in beautiful homes, it’s been an enforced period of contemplation.
Many people have lost loved ones or may even have had a brush with death themselves, and will be reassessing how they live and what is important. The Silver Generation are more aware of their mortality than ever, and spending quality time with friends and family will remain high on the agenda.
Although the need for Isolation Vacations won’t be as pronounced as before the vaccine, there will still be segment of luxury travellers who desire seclusion. These people are looking for places that offer them a chance to reconnect with nature, reconnect with themselves and reconnect with others.
Rebirth and Transformation
Moving on from a past self and embracing a better one is something that many people are aspiring to post-pandemic. There is a collective desire to upgrade one’s life, to discover meaning and to reinvent.
Travel is often perceived to be the perfect way to go beyond the boundaries of the every-day, which is why there will be a particular demand for experiences that help wealthy travellers evolve as human beings. These could come in the form of elite wellness retreats or solo journeys.
Aliveness and Optimisation
We’d all hoped 2021 would be the year that travel made it’s big comeback but that didn’t quite go to plan, so my money is on 2022 giving people the opportunity to finally fulfil their big, audacious, bucket-list style expeditions and adventures that they have been planning for so long.
Even though financial wealth has given those that have it more freedom than those that don’t, it’s still been very difficult to circumvent closed borders and gain safe access to places such as Mount Everest, where Covid outbreaks continue to be a problem for climbers and local sherpas.
Nevertheless, for anyone with a thirst for testing their limits will know, being mentally and physically restricted, which is what the pandemic has done to us all, is deeply uncomfortable. So the search for a feeling of aliveness from travel will be pronounced among many high net worth individuals. They will want adrenaline experiences and reasons to prepare for new challenges. For those who can afford it, a trip into space might be next on the list.
Virtue and Atonement
Recent data for Oxfam has revealed that the world’s richest 1% are responsible for double the carbon emissions than the poorest 50%. In the future, we can expect a rise in more conscientious luxury travellers who will want to holiday in a low-impact way.
When we talk about virtue and atonement, we are talking about how some people are realising they want to do more good in the world, and to some extent, atone for their sins by travelling more responsibly. They are looking for opportunities to give back to local communities and invest in philanthropic endeavours.